Whitelion responds to Ombudsman’s report

When the Ombudsman’s report into the conditions in Melbourne’s youth justice centres was released last week, Whitelion went public with its thoughts on the issue.

As the news broke, Whitelion CEO Mark Watt appeared on Jon Faine’s ABC 774 morning show and was interviewed for a story on ABC’s Stateline.

Mark Watt says:

The release of the Victorian Ombudsman’s concerning report into Melbourne’s youth justice centres briefly brought the media’s focus to the everyday experiences of young people in custody.  A lot of the public comment that followed – from talkback to news websites – concentrated on the crime and punishment elements of the story. But what about the young people themselves? How did they get there?

Yes, they have committed crimes.  But why?

Whitelion has worked with young offenders for 10 years. We have seen it all and heard it all, and know that it is not as simple as punishing a crime.  A complex path leads to youth crime – a family that knows violence, mental ill health, unstable housing or unemployment can result in a young person who does not want to go to school, is more likely to try drugs and get involved with a dangerous peer group.  From this point, committing a crime is just a small step away.

Whitelion believes that a lack of opportunity traps young people into this cycle of disadvantage. It can take just one chance from the community to break this cycle.

Whitelion works tirelessly through partnerships with the corporate, sports, arts and volunteer communities to provide a chance, a possibility, an alternative, for each and every young person who walks through out front door.

Mark Watt’s appearance on ABC’s Stateline can be viewed here : http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/10/08/3033587.htm

For more information on Whitelion visit www.whitelion.org.au